What is metabolism and how does metabolism work?

What is metabolism and how does metabolism work?

The Essentials of Metabolism:

Metabolism – you’ve likely already heard the word at some point or another, probably in a discussion regarding health. In fact, it’s even trendy to keep up with your metabolism. But what is metabolism? Perhaps you have an idea of the answer to that question. Your conception of it, however, is probably kind of vague. It’s likely something relating to your body’s ability (or lack thereof) to retain energy, right? Well, not exactly. Then what is metabolism really, and how does metabolism work?

What is metabolism?

You’ve probably heard a gluttonous skinny friend say more than once that he/she has a high rate of metabolism. However, contrary to popular belief, metabolism isn’t simply how the body burns fat. In reality, your metabolism does not really dictate your body weight, at least not in the way that you or your friend probably thinks. Yes, the formation of energy is a key component of metabolism. However, it is broader and more complex than that. So, what is metabolism?

Metabolism is a term that encapsulates any and every chemical reaction that occurs in the process of sustaining and maintaining an organism and its cells. It consists of two parts: anabolism and catabolism. Anabolism is the process which is responsible for building things up. It is concerned with the production and maintenance of cells, storage of energy, and weight gain. Catabolism, on the other hand, is the process by which things in your body are broken down from larger to smaller units. It is chiefly concerned with obtaining energy from food. During a catabolic process, nutrients are released from food and absorbed into your bloodstream.

It may still sound a little complicated to you. Perhaps you are still wondering—what is metabolism and how does it work? To get a clearer idea, it may help you to first learn the function of metabolism.

What does metabolism do?

This brings us back to the question – what is metabolism? As you may have already realized, metabolism is an essential bodily function and is therefore an intricate biochemical process. You’re probably looking for a more straight forward understanding of it than that, however. In simple terms, metabolism refers to the process that your body uses to convert the food you consume into energy. So what does metabolism do, then? During the process of metabolism, oxygen combines with the calories in your ingested food and drinks to produce the energy your body requires. How our body uses our reserves of fats, proteins, carbohydrates and nucleic acids is what metabolism is concerned with.

Energy is something your body needs constantly, even when you’re not moving. We rarely think about the less obvious, but crucial, functions of our body. Think of processes such as respiration (breathing), the growth and/or renewal of cells, and blood circulation. The rate at which these processes occur – or, more precisely, the amount of calories that are burned during these processes – is what you may refer to as your metabolism.

You may be wondering, can the rate of metabolism be regulated? Even though it is not as simple a process as you may believe, the rate at which your body metabolizes fat is alterable. What does metabolize mean? It’s simply the process of metabolism. To get a better understanding of metabolism, we may take a look at what factors affect the individual’s metabolic rate.

What determines your rate of metabolism?

There are several factors to be taken into consideration in this regard.

  • Whether you are male or female: Men usually pack more body mass than women. However, this mass is in muscle, not fat. Women of the same age, weight and height, have a lower rate of metabolism.
  • How old you are: As age increases, so does the amount of fat in your body. Of course, this means that muscle mass is also more likely to decrease. This slows down your body’s ability to burn calories. Therefore, the older you get, the slower your metabolism rate becomes.
  • The size of your body: As mentioned before, your body burns energy even when it’s moving. This is especially true in the case of people with larger bodies. This refers more to one’s muscle mass, not their fat content.
  • Your exercise habits: In a weight-loss plan, men tend to focus on increasing exercise, as opposed to altering their diet, while women usually try to reduce calorie intake. However, a balance of both a good diet and ample amounts of exercise can help to increase your metabolic rate.

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